Fred Wright on British hopes at UCI Road World Championships: ‘We’ve got an underdog team – we could surprise’

·3 min read

This article originally appeared on Velo News

TALAVERA DE LA REINA, Spain (VN) - Fred Wright isn’t letting the loss of Tom Pidcock get him down as he rides toward the road world championships.

Wright is one of a quietly confident British team looking to foil the favorites at the Wollongong worlds later this month.

“We've got a strong team, an underdog team, but we should smash it hopefully. I think we could surprise” Wright told VeloNews after he signed on for stage 19 of the Vuelta a Espana.

Wright is set to co-captain Great Britain with Ethan Hayter in Australia at the road race in two weeks’ time.

Pidcock chose to sit out worlds with end-of-season fatigue in a decision that dented the team’s hopes but not its ambition. Hayter and Wright both charted a meteoric rise through recent seasons and give options for all angles on a tough hilly course in New South Wales.

“I'm not specifically the leader ... I'm a card to play,” Wright said. “The plan is to go for Ethan, but maybe for me in an early move to scout things out.”

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Pidcock, Wright, and Hayter are just 23 years old. A team also including Ben Turner (23), Ben Tulett (21), and Jake Stewart (22) represents the swathe of rising British talent that rode the wave of the 2012 London Olympics and the rise of Team Sky.

“It's a shame Tom’s not on the team but he's got good reasons to not be part of it,” Wright said.

“But for sure there'll be plenty more world championships where we'll all be racing together. I think at some point one of us will be world champion. There's so much strength in the British riders at the moment.”

A road worlds packing more than 4,000m of climbing across a series of steep ramps could see Wright working his post-Vuelta form toward the final selection of the race on September 25.

“I’ve seen on some of the stages here at the Vuelta that I can be there on those punchy climbs, so I'm really looking forward to it,” he said. “I just need to rest up as much as possible from this Vuelta.”

A trip Down Under for Wright’s first visit to Australia later this month will stretch a season he started in Oman early February.

Since then, a top-10 in Tour of Flanders, four top-10s at the Tour de France, and six more at this Vuelta a Espana made Wright one of the most visible and prolific riders at Bahrain Victorious.

“To be in two grand tours and at the front the way I have been, it's a step in the right direction. I'm already looking forward to the next season,” Wright said.

The Londoner is now booked in for a seat near the front of the Bahrain Victorious bus through 2025 after the team handed him one of the longest contracts on its books.

“That extension, being so long, it takes a lot of stress away,” he said. “I was gutted to not win stages here but I've got plenty more opportunities to come.”

The Vuelta’s final stage in Madrid may see Wright get his next opportunity. If not then, maybe in Wollongong - albeit in a different jersey.

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